By Corn, David
The Nation , Vol. 253, No. 16
Influence equals money. That formula was religiously followed by the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. B.C.C.I. signed up Clark Clifford and Robert Altman. It courted Jimmy Carter, his former aide Andrew Young and others. In Miami B.C.C.I. hobnobbed with Jeb Bush, son of George. In Brazil it bagged an ambassador purportedly connected to the king of geopolitical influence, Henry Kissinger.
In the mid-1980s the voracious B.C.C.I. wanted desperately to open shop in Brazil. But the country restricted foreign involvement in commercial banking. Then in early 1986 Ghaith Pharaon, a front man for B.C.C.I., met Sergio da Costa, the Brazilian Ambassador to the United States, in Florida. Pharaon complained about B.C.C.I.'s problem; the Ambassador promised to assist the bank. And help it he did, according to documents obtained by the Senate subcommittee on terrorism, narcotics and international operations. A September 2, 1986, confidential internal B.C.C.I. memorandum outlines a plan whereby da Costa and two other Brazilians would form a Brazilian banking company to front for B. …